The right way to treat Farage

May 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm (Anti-Racism, Champagne Charlie, Europe, Galloway, populism, protest, scotland, twat, UKIP)

Nigel Farage is used to getting an easy ride. Most of the British press fawn over him and even political opponents (including Labour) have evidently decided to avoid direct attacks and criticism.

So the heckling and minor jostling he and his supporters received on Thursday in an Edinburgh pub, and some mildly critical remarks from a BBC Radio Scotland interviewer, seemed to come as a terrible shock: the saloon bar loudmouth suddenly turned into a priggish prima donna and left Scotland in a frightful huff.


I don’t know who the people who organised the Edinburgh protest are. They have been described as “left wing nationalists” so I suspect I for one wouldn’t agree with them on Scottish independence. But their representative on last night’s Newsnight came over as quite reasonable, and another organiser, Liam O’Hare is quoted in today’s Graun saying: “The people who demonstrated were internationalist. We opposed Nigel Farage coming as we believe in a society that welcomes immigrants, that welcomes people from all walks of life, wherever they come from, but doesn’t welcome racists like Nigel Farage.”

Farage and Ukip are not (quite) fascists. But they are thoroughgoing racists and general-purpose ultra-reactionaries. The nearest recent UK precedent would be Enoch Powell and the semi-official movement he built round himself in the late sixties and early seventies. The left didn’t pussy-foot about when it came to Powell: so why are most of us so polite when it comes to Farage and Ukip?

P.S: Check out Mr Galloway’s craven comments, here.


  1. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    The left didn’t pussy-foot about when it came to Powell

    Which did not stop Michael Foot, Tony Benn and IIRC several trade union leaders literally sharing platforms with him during the 1975 referendum campaign…..

    On the politeness my local Labour party’s members including myself were mostly rather pleased that UKIP were standing candidates and splitting the Tory vote.

    And then one of them was outed by (even) the Mail as an online holocaust denier and no box left unticked conspiracy theorist and a couple of days later we had a local hustings in another town and got to hear another one (who actually won that seat) muttering incoherent racist drivel about ‘breeding immigrants’ and stringing them all up.

    That personal contact really has changed everything with us and if we confront them again we will be a lot more prepared to treat them as racists and liars rather than just a bunch of joke-Tories.

    The problem is that many of the left no longer do ‘proper politics’ at all – they don’t knock on doors, they don’t attend real public meetings, they don’t work or live alongside people who get all their views from the Mail and Sun and Telegraph, they don’t read anything much from outside of their little alternative reality bubble – and as a result this is all very abstract to them.

  2. pinkagendist said,

    I think they do qualify as fascists. They’ve just learnt the very clever trick of omitting certain words and phrases to dissimulate their positions. Behind their ideology lie all the traditional fascist principles: racial superiority, hard-line nationalism, the exclusion of minorities and any who don’t conform to the message, victimism etc. etc.
    I’m appalled that because they got a few votes in recent history it seems Britain’s media and political class now seem to think UKIP’s message is just fine.

    • Jimmy Glesga said,

      They will never form a government so it hardly matters if they are fascist. That Liam O’ Hare got his moment on Newsnight. The new middles class lefty student kid on the block. Never done a days hard work in his life! Reminded me of Sheridan.

    • Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      I prefer to adapt the Simpsons take on the Fox News logo – ‘Not Racist But #1 With Racists’

      UKIP does indeed include many racists and a few fascist entrists and it is notable that they seem to have hoovered up the former BNP vote in many council seats – but if you’ve encountered enough UKIP supporters in their natural habitat you’ll know that they are generally way too confused (often quite literally given their advanced age), stupid and incoherent to be fascists.

      In fact those few who are bright enough to have an ideology seem to have imported wholesale from the US Right and share all its obsessions – a purely economic libertarianism, an obsession with teh gays, ‘climate change scepticism’ etc etc.

      Even their framing of immigration owes more to the US Right than to the cruder racism of the BNP and the National Front before it.

      And fascist just should not be a generalised term of abuse.

      Whoever compiled the wikipedia article did a pretty good job of collecting definitions of fascism and none readily apply to UKIP.

      My own favourite short definition is Robert Paxton’s:

      A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion

      Certainly the obsession with community decline and victimhood is there but a cult of ‘unity energy and purity’? a mass-based party of nationalist militants? the ‘redemptive violence’? ‘goals of internal cleansing and external expension’?

      And Nigel Farage as Hitler in a Barbour jacket?

      Seriously – come on….

      It also ignores the central fact of modern bourgeois politics – with the Left and the workers movement effectively dead beyond any likely hope of resurrection at least in this generation, capitalism simply does not need fascism as it did in the 1920s and 1930s as it faces no existential political threat and has means of mass persuasion or just distraction unimaginable back then.

      If anything the trend is for actual neo-fascist parties to become post-fascist parties indistinguishable from those of the neo-liberal Right (for which see the evolution of the MSI to the Allianza Nazionale to the merger with whatever Berlusconi calls his party these days).

      Now you can interpret that as the mainstream Right becoming ‘fascistic’ – but it is actually the fascists who are throwing overboard their ideology to become acceptable to the ruling class.

      • pinkagendist said,

        Very interesting insight. Holding dual Spanish & French citizenship I come at this from a different perspective. In both countries right wing fascist movements have learnt to disguise their real agendas using the same techniques that UKIP is now adopting.
        Do you know how many Spanish politicians in the current government are the children of Franquist officials? They came into government portraying themselves as moderate, and suddenly every right conquered in the post Franco era is under attack. Worker’s rights, reproductive rights, gay rights- even property rights (unless you’re a corporation). Just have a look at the law they’re trying to pass which limits private home owners from renting out their properties or rooms during the holiday season because it’s allegedly ‘unfair competition to the hotel industry’. My proposition is that they’re not throwing their ideology overboard, they’re just disguising it.
        For years the French media was light on Le Pen, in many ways they still are, and there you have it, his daughter still gets major air-time. Today Nigel Farage, a fumbling opportunist, heads UKIP. But what if they did have a more charismatic leader?
        Britain succeeded in making the BNP a pariah, the same should be done of its child.

  3. Ibrahim said,

    So Liam O’Hare says that immigrants are welcome to Scotland but not racists. What about immigrants who are racists? Presumably they won’t be welcome which makes his statement that immigrants are welcome a complete sham proving that a country must have control over who comes in.

  4. Rosie said,

    Jim -the Scots do have a big conceited and false idea of themselves as being less racist than those English bastards. There’s a nasty streak of anti-Englishness here, which has led to a couple of murders, bullying of English kids at school and a campaign against the so-called “white settlers” ie English people who bought property in the Borders or Highlands.

    John Wight (aach – I never thought I’d quote hom) seems to have been present at the demo and here’s what he says:-

    “The danger of the campaign for Scottish independence becoming associated with anti English racism is becoming increasingly apparent. On two separate occasions within a matter of months – involving first Iain Duncan Smith and most recently UKIP’s Nigel Farage – protesters and left wing supporters of Scottish independence have heckled both with chants of ‘Get back tae England!’ when they have appeared in Scotland.

    Whether those involved have been motivated by anti English hostility or not – and in both instances the answer is clearly more likely not – perception is all in politics. And in this regard, with both events being covered widely by the media, any English person living in Scotland watching this developing trend will be justified in experiencing a growing sense of unease.”

    He’s got his anti-nationalism-in-general take on it, but here he does know what he’s talking about.

    Over at Socialist Unity – I can’t seem to post the link.

    Also comment 6:-

    “Presumably this incident reflects the conceit of some on the Scottish left – especially on the nationalist left as represented by the RIC – that racism is an English disease to which Scots are less prone.”

    But I think Daily Mash did it best:-

    NIGEL Farage stared through the looking glass yesterday as he was besieged in an Edinburgh pub by demented nationalists.

    The UKIP leader had gone to Scotland to talk about why the country you come from is the most important thing about you, but was forced to flee by some furious Scottish people who believe exactly the same thing.

    Farage said: “It was like Being John Malkovich. I looked out and saw lots of angry, Scottish versions of my own face.

    “Thankfully, it has taught me absolutely nothing.”

    Bill McKay, a Scottish Farage, said: “I want to kill that posh English bastard and his message of hate.”

    • Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      As a semi-outsider with a foot half placed in Scotland myself (mother in Stirling, best friend in Edinburgh, monthly visits up there until the absurd rail prices and declining funds put paid to that) I mostly agree.

      The underlying issue is that the morons who in England focus their hate on blacks have in Scotland relatively few people of colour to pick on – and those they do have are more likely to be relatively well- integrated are less visible than the highly ghettoised Asian and Black communities in England.

      And so they direct it at the English but also still to some degree on the traditional internal Other of Protestants/Catholics (despite everything I know theoretically about Scottish sectarianism it is still shocking to be sat in an Edinburgh coffee shop on a Saturday last year and have a mob of Hearts fans march past chanting anti-Catholic slogans as if it was still still 1690 – or to see an Orange parade on the streets of Stirling).

      Having said this if I actually lived in Edinburgh the temptation to join a mob chasing Farage out of town would probably be overpowering….

    • MAG said,

      During 6 years living in Edinburgh I heard plenty of ‘chinky’, ‘paki’, quite blood-curdling anti-englishness, comments about Polish people and general anti-migrant ‘Scotland’s full’, ‘you shouldn’t have been allowed into the country’ rhetoric. There was a horrible racist murder in Leith. So while Scotland is probably not any *more* racist than other countries, it is certainly no *less* racist.

    • To Hell With UKIP said,

      John Wight has no right to comment on racism. When someone blames the Holocaust on Jews, openly supports HAMAS and writes for a disgustingly antisemitic, Respect Party-affiliated website, they instantly lose any credibility.

      UKIP is a revolting party – BNP-lite for teeth-gnashing Daily Heil readers – but a RESPEC’ hack commenting on their racism is yer original Pot an’ Kettle scenario.

      Just saying.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    A lot of things in politics are not clear-cut, and we all have to make a judgement as to what the most important aspect of a given situation is.

    I agree with Rosie that the assumption of some Scottish people that they’re “less racist” than the English is unpleasant, self-righteous, and may indeed have led to violence and even murders.

    We should oppose that sort of Scottish nationalism as the racism it is.

    The anti-Farage demo doesn’t seem to me to have been in that category. Admittedly, I wasn’t there. But going by all the evidence I’ve been able to ascertain (eg the interviews with organisers referred to in the main post), I see no reason to conclude that this was an anti-English protest. It seems to have been an anti-racist protest, and as far as I’m concerned it’s about time Farage was subjected to some of that.

    • Rosie said,

      I’m willing to think I may have made too much of the anti-English bigotry in the anti-Farage demo. You get heid-bangers in anything like that. I did see a Facebook exchange about it where those taking part were painting it as stopping a potential Hitler in his tracks. There’s an awful lot of presenting this kind of thing as Cable Street II. UKIP is almost nothing in Scotland, as is the SDL, but noisy opposition to them is presented as resisting the Nazis circa 1933.

      I saw one analysis which said that UKIP as an almost purely English phenomenon and a discreditable one made Scottish independence look more attractive to Scottish voters, as Margaret Thatcher did. A Machiavellian independence movement could try swelling UKIP’s ranks. . .

  6. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto said,

    As pessoas que controlam o podernão querem compreenção e cooperação por isso é preciso fazer um julgamento a respeito de umaspecto determinada situação

  7. Rosie said,

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